Home Blog Inspiration August 2021 How I’ve Helped Get Telstra’s ‘Unconference’ Events off the Ground

How I’ve Helped Get Telstra’s ‘Unconference’ Events off the Ground

by Justin Dolman

Business Specialist

How I’ve Helped Get Telstra’s ‘Unconference’ Events off the Ground
As a member of the Telstra Unconference organising committee, it was really great to see our first event of 2021 in April go so well.
I’ve been involved in all aspects of the events, from organising speakers and hosting sessions, to creating website content and helping with behind-the-scenes logistics.
We’re busy planning the next few sessions for this year, so I thought I’d share some insight into what to expect if you’re attending one of these non-traditional conferences and why it’s been so enjoyable to be a part of.
The “Unconference”
The Unconference is an internal TEDx-like event, run by volunteers from Telstra. It is very much a participant-driven conference, with sessions based around the feedback we’ve received from attendees. We’ve designed it this way to avoid the typical speaker-attendee format seen at conference events.
We encourage Telstra people to present alongside feature speakers from other leading tech companies. This helps us share and build on the knowledge found throughout our organisation and creates a fantastic platform for employees to engage in peer-to-peer learning, exchange ideas and be creative.

A rewarding experience to be a part of
Since 2019, our Unconferences have had over 2,800 unique attendees, with an average attendance of almost five sessions per person. This is a huge achievement for us – it means our events are having a wide reach across the organisation, and that these events are valued by our attendees.
Personally, I've gone well outside my comfort zone by planning, presenting and hosting, as well as coordinating with stakeholders across the business. I’ve worked with a variety of teams and facilitated meetings with Telstra executives – all very good experiences and great for networking!
The biggest challenge is making sure we’re prepared for things that can go wrong on the day. In the past, we’ve had technical issues or attendees who couldn’t access invite links, so we make sure we have plans in place to cover this.

I’ve really enjoyed being involved
I became involved with the event as a graduate and it really helped me build up my network across Telstra. I’ve gotten to know employees from across the business who all have different stories to share.
I’ve always appreciated the flexibility and freedom at Telstra to try new things.

Even as a graduate you’re given a lot of support to branch out and explore the company. Any time I’ve put my hand up, I’ve received plenty of guidance and support, and that is what has always given me the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Our next Unconference will be held on the 16-17 August.
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